Friday, January 28, 2011


I haven't actually been cooking a whole lot lately.  We've been eating out a lot, which...  we probably shouldn't be doing.  It's convenient, especially when I'm too tired to cook.  But last night I did cook, and spent the majority of the night in the kitchen working on this mac-n-cheese.

Not the best picture in the world, but that's a crispy tomato on top...

 This recipe comes from a great book my mom picked up for me a couple years ago: Garlic, Garlic, Garlic: More than 200 Exceptional Recipes for the World's Most Indispensable Ingredient (wow that's a long title).  I had to add some bacon to it because the wife requested some kind of meat...  go figure...  I married a vegan and now she has me adding bacon to things.  I also didn't have enough cheddar so I just started adding whatever cheese I had until I got to 1.5 lbs.  So it's got cheddar, gouda, muenster, and fontina, as well as a sprinkling of parmigiano reggiano and some spanish hard cheese I can't remember the name of.  Lots of cheese.

1 lb elbow macaroni
1/2 lb bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (or any hard, salty cheese)
3 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 hefty cloves of garlic, minced
1 habanero, minced
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk, warmed
1.5 lbs (24oz) of cheese...  cheddar works well, but feel free to experiment...  cubed to allow for easy melting
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
2 decent sized tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Boil your macaroni for 2 minutes less than the package indicates and set aside.  Meanwhile, fry your bacon pieces in a large skillet until you've rendered a good  amount of bacon fat and your bacon pieces are dark and crispy.  Remove the bacon from the skillet.  Add a little extra cooking oil (butter, canola, peanut, olive...  whatever) and drop in your onion, garlic, and habanero.  Cook them until their translucent but not brown...  5-ish minutes.  Set aside.

In a large pot melt 4 tablespoons of butter.  To it, whisk in your flour.  Slowly whisk in your milk.  Bring to a light simmer but not boil.  Don't burn the milk!  Drop in your cheese and slowly melt until it's thick and creamy.  Drop in your bacon, onions, garlic, and habanero.  Add your thyme, chives, and 1 Tablespoon of parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then add your macaroni.  Pour everything into a greased casserole and top with sliced tomato.   

In a bowl mix together your parmigiano reggiano, panko, and the rest of your parsley.  Sprinkle it over the casserole and pop that sucker in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the panko is browned.  I ended up blowtorching the tomatoes a little bit to get them nice and dark, but that's optional.  Serve it hot.

Ok, I know...  this is like a Paula Dean recipe on crack.  Bacon, cheese, butter, white carbs...  There's no denying that if you ate this every day you would die.  But man... is it good.



  1. That's it. I'm moving you guys up here to Raleigh and hiring you as my personal chef.